‘A Steal:’ Hurston Waldrep’s HS coach raves over Braves first round pick

Florida's Hurston Waldrep signs autographs for fans following their 3-2 win against TCU in a...
Florida's Hurston Waldrep signs autographs for fans following their 3-2 win against TCU in a baseball game at the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 21, 2023.(AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 6:35 PM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) - A tense couple of hours quickly turned into elation Sunday night at the home of Hurston Waldrep, the former Thomasville High School and University of Florida standout.

The pitcher was drafted 24th overall by the Atlanta Braves.

His high school head coach, Erik McDougald, was with friends and family at Waldrep’s home as they watched the draft results. Name after name was called. Finally, the moment came.

“Everyone just exploded,” McDougald said. “I got to watch some slow play of his parents jumping up and hugging each other, and just the family’s reaction, everyone in the room’s reaction. The fact that it was Atlanta, it was just beautiful. It felt like a walk off to win a huge game.”

McDougald said he knew handing the ball to Waldrep gave his team a great chance to win.

“You’re just really excited for him, you know where he’s come from,” he said. “You know what he’s done. You know what opportunity he has in front of him. And he gets to do it for our home state Atlanta Braves. I mean, you can’t ask for much better.”

Waldrep transferred from Southern Miss to Florida in 2023, turning heads and cementing him as a first-round talent.

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